Great British Menu 2016 Blog by Jenna Lloyd - The Central Heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th September 2016

Apologies for the delay in this week's Great British Menu 2016 blog! Here's a run down of the Central heat from start to finish...


This week saw the turn of the Central chefs Daniel Smith (chef patron at The Ingham Swan, Norfolk), Danny Gill (previously head chef at Midsummer House, Cambridge) and Andrew Scott (executive chef at Restaurant 56 at Sudbury House, Oxfordshire). Judging the contestants was veteran of the competition, Angela Hartnett, making her sixth appearance on the show. Angela joked at the beginning that she would be "much nicer than Gordon"!


Andrew Scott - Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - celeriac soup

Andrew’s starter was a tribute to two men, David and Robin who both have an MBE for their work at a food bank in Andrew's region. ‘Living on the Breadline’ would feature cheap ingredients but use sophisticated techniques and flavours in an attempt to elevate them.

The main element of the dish was a ‘pimped’ celeriac soup – made using an old recipe with egg white and salt.  Andrew also served parsley dumplings but took the suet out in an attempt to give them a lighter consistency. He brushed these with an oxtail sauce. First onto the plate was shredded salt-baked celeriac and Granny Smith apples in a little mould, topped with layered oxtail and his dumplings. Andrew garnished his plate with celeriac crisps and micro parsley and served his soup in tin cans on miniature shelves, resembling the food bank.

>>> We've got more oxtail recipes here...

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew Scott - Starter


While Angela liked the story behind the dish, she said the dumplings could have been lighter. She liked the flavours of the oxtail, apple and celeriac but said that the soup was too heavy and the crisps had gone soggy.


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - starter with partridgeDaniel Smith’s menu, he told us, would be inspired by the criteria for the Queen’s Honors list. To start, ‘Making a Difference’ – a tribute to Theresa Dent CBE of the Game and Conservation Trust. Daniel is an advocate of local produce so he was using a Norfolk partridge in his starter. He poached the breast in a water bath and used the bones to make a consommé. He also made some pork crackling. Partial to ‘unfussy cooking’, he cooked some foraged girolles and an apple and ginger puree to accompany the partridge, as well as some shallot rings, apple matchsticks and a garnish of watercress and parsley crumb. Daniel served his consommé in shotgun cartridges and his plate in a medal box.

>>> Here's more partridge recipes for you...


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - starter

Judge Angela thought that his presentation was original and called the consommé delicious, but felt let down by the flavours and textures of the dish. She said it could do with more apple puree and more crispy pork.

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill - starter chicken scallop

Danny Gill was cooking a reinvention of coronation chicken (seen before on the show this series!) but featuring some rather interesting flavours including mango ravioli. He filled the ravioli with “f*ckloads” of a chicken, coriander and scallop stuffing. Also on the plate were a confit chicken leg with coronation dressing, crispy chicken skin and seared scallops. Some pickled jasmine raisins, curried shallot rings and spiced mango puree were a real twist on the classic dish. Final accompaniments were puffed wild rice, edible flowers and raw scallop tartare.  

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill starter

Angela didn’t think that each complex component in Danny’s starter came together. She said that the ravioli was nice but she said there could have been more spice and more coronation chicken.

Scores for the first course were seven a piece to Danny and Daniel and six to Andrew but the judge added: “you can all do a lot better than you did today” …


Angela said that she wanted to give some tens for the Fish course after being a bit unimpressed by the courses the day before.


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill - Salmon - fish course

Danny was cooking another complex reinvention, based on fond memories of the classic combination – salmon, cucumber and cream cheese. He made an oak smoked salmon mousse and crumb and cooked salmon fillets sous vide to make rillettes. He pickled some of the cucumber and made a consommé with the other bit by blending it, extracting the juice, spinning it and evaporating it. He also pickled some cucumber and apple and set himself the challenge of making aerated cream cheese before freezing it in liquid nitrogen.

>>> Looking for more cucumber recipes? Click here...


Danny’s presentation was as complex as his dish – with the rillettes, mousse, pickled apple and cucumber, brioche disks in a bowl. Then sat on top of the bowl was the second part of the dish, with caviar, edible cucumber flowers, pickles, more brioche, salmon crumb, dill oil and his aerated cream cheese. The consommé was served in jugs on the side but when poured onto the dish, it fell through holes into the bowl underneath.

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill - Salmon fish course

Whilst theatrical, the other chefs pointed out that this technique meant that Danny’s brioche got rather wet. Angela felt that there may have been too many elements to the dish but she loved the lightness and texture of his mousse and called the edible flowers ‘sublime’.


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew Scott - crab fish courseThe pressure was on for Andrew as he was in third place and hoped to catch up with his fish course ‘Crabbing the Headlines’. He was serving – wait for it – coronation crab! The title, a play on words because of how many people watched the Queen’s coronation. Unlike Danny, Andrew opted to keep the more traditional apricot in his dish, making a gel. He had a bit of difficulty making brown crab biscuits on top of which he served ‘crab panna cotta’ - pickled white meat dressed with a curry and blended almond emulsion. Apricot segments and raisins were next onto the plate, then his gel and then he steeped it in apple juice and ginger wine. Finally, a garnish of celery and coriander cress and the course was served inside a film reel tin.

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew Scott - crab fish course

Angela called the presentation “clever and original” and she liked the texture of the ‘panna cotta’. She added however that the white crab meat had been overpowered by the almond puree and the biscuits had gone soggy.


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - lobster fish course

Daniel’s fish course ‘Above and Beyond’ was dedicated to the volunteers who help man the Caister lifeboat. They were presented with a voluntary award from the Queen in 2012. He lightly poached Norfolk lobster, making a bisque from its head and serving the tail meat. He also decided to make a potato ‘risotto’.  Highlighting the seafood, he brushed the tails with a garlic and parsley butter. Other complimentary flavours were served in the form of a lemon puree, a cheese ‘custard’ dressing and samphire.


>>> Looking for a different risotto recipe? 


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - lobster fish course

The other chefs found a bit of shell in their course! Angela however said that the lobster was cooked beautifully and loved all of the different liquid accompaniments to it. She advised him to ditch the lemon puree in favour of some zest instead and to work on the presentation, as it felt a bit ‘crammed’.


Angela awarded Daniel an eight, Danny a very high score of nine and Andrew another lower score of seven. She said that all three chefs had “elevated their game” this time!


Danny Gill was now on a two-point lead as the Central contestants went into their Main courses.


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew scott - venison mainAndrew Scott was pulling out all the stops in an attempt to catch up, with his venison dish, ‘Ma’am’s Balmoral Birthday Venison’. This year saw the Queen celebrate her ninetieth birthday, so Andrew wanted to serve a few of her rumoured favourites in a ‘forest floor’ themed course.

He trimmed and minced some of the game to make a ‘ragout’ and roasted the loin. He also made thinly-cut game chips with a pine salt seasoning and served these in a delicate china cup. Andrew cooked hispi cabbage in a water bath and finished it by pan frying it in juniper and bacon butter for an intense flavour. He froze blackberries in liquid nitrogen, a more modern cooking technique. A spiced bread sauce, girolle mushrooms and wood sorrel were last onto the plate and his venison sauce was served in a tartan hip flask on the side. Andrew also made a gin and Dubonnet cocktail and offered Angela and the other chefs engraved ninetieth knives for the course.

 Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew Scott - main venison

Angela liked the flavour of the cabbage with the bacon coming through. She said that the venison was nicely cooked and she loved the chips. While it was clear that Andrew had really thought about brief, she wasn’t sure about the ragout and said it was a lot of meat on the dish. Her and the other chefs also agreed that the bread sauce was too spicy.  

 >>> See more cabbage recipes...


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill venison main

Danny was also cooking venison for his main course, ‘Fallow the Dream’. He was paying tribute to his father, who was a chef in the RAF for twenty-five years and cooked for troops and at royal banquets.

A more traditional dish with ‘no bells or whistles’, Danny made a venison wellington with British ceps and truffles for a duxelle. He also blended caramelised celeriac with cream, chicken stock and brown butter to make a puree, and combined British blush pears and pine liquor to make a second puree.

Danny served his wellington on his mentor and GBM veteran, Daniel Clifford’s plates, with raw and sautéed ceps, compressed pears, black truffle, wood sorrel and the two purees. These went down well with judge Angela Hartnett and she said that his flavours worked well. She did however feel that the venison needed more cooking - the pastry was a bit soggy. She and the other chefs also mentioned that the theme of the dish (and its interpretation of the brief) were not apparent.  

>>> Watch Daniel Clifford cook Turbot, squid ink cake, tempura samphire & razor clams!

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill - venison main


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - beef main

Daniel was using a Norfolk beef shin as the meaty star of his dish. ‘Great British Heritage’ would be a Sunday lunch with a difference, featuring some interesting vegetable accompaniments. Daniel made pommes dauphines – a French take on roast potatoes, combining them with choux pastry before deep frying them in beef dripping. He seared his beef, then braised it in the pressure cooker.

The other chefs joked that it was a disappointing roast dinner because it didn’t have any Yorkshire puddings or horseradish sauce. Daniel seemed confident that the other elements he was including – cauliflower puree, Romanesco broccoli, butternut squash and roasted shallots would be enough. He covered the plated with a cloche with the Great British flag on.  

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - beef main

Angela said that all joking aside, the French potatoes were lovely and the beef was cooked nicely. However, she didn’t think there was enough involvement of the brief and felt the shallot needed to be caramelised.

She reminded all three chefs that the competition is not just about great cooking, they must also pay attention to the brief. She scored Andrew and Danny’s mains eight points and Daniel’s seven.


Before the dessert course, Danny Gill was still in the lead with Daniel two points behind him and Andrew in third. Angela said: “you cannot wing desserts” - she was looking for a very high standard.

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill - raspberry dessert

As per the rest of his menu, Danny was serving up another complex and risky dish. ‘Jam Penny’ would resemble money bags after the Queen’s ‘Maundy Money’ tradition. He made his interpretation of a Victoria Sponge using cream and jam, and used this for the base. For the string, Danny made raspberry pâte de fruit and the coins were made from tempered white chocolate.

He also made an ice cream with the chocolate and some feuilletine – a kind of crispy broken down wafer. He pulled out a whimsical surprise in the form of a candy floss machine and covered the ‘bags’ with raspberry candy floss. A raspberry Earl Grey tea was served in a teapot with a flag motif.

>>> More raspberry recipes here!

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Danny Gill - jam penny dessert


Angela said that the flavours were great, the tea and sponge worked together. She called the candy floss “a lovely bit of theatre”. She did say however that it wasn’t totally clear what the shape (the moneybag) was and told Danny he needed to work on the presentation.


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - raspberry peach melba dessert

Daniel was particularly nervous as there was only one point between him and Andrew. His dish ‘National Treasure’ was a reinvention of a peach melba. He made a raspberry panna cotta which was taking longer than usual to cool! Whilst waiting, he made a raspberry and gold leaf champagne jelly and pistachio ‘snow’. Also on the plate was a raspberry gel, raspberry ripple ice cream and peaches poached in tarragon. He served the plate on a regal red cushion. A sort of drink on the side, Daniel had made a ‘bellini’ with white peach foam topped with sparkling wine.

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Daniel Smith - raspberry peach melba dessert

Judge Angela felt that the dish could have done with more texture - almost everything was soft. She felt that perhaps there was too much raspberry and she wondered if perhaps he should have used more peach. She also mentioned that the tarragon peaches were stunning and the bellini was a lovely touch.

 >>> We love a good panna cotta recipe!


Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew scott - afternoon tea dessert

Andrew's dessert could close the gap with Daniel and get him the points he needed to secure him a place at the Judging. He was creating an ‘Afternoon Tea’ as a tribute to a lady from the first hotel he worked in, Rita Southam MBE. Her favourite dessert was a lemon meringue pie so Andrew made his own take on this – lemon tartlets topped with meringue, fresh and freeze dried raspberries.

His second component of the dish was a blueberry sherbet sorbet with a verjuice foam made from un-ripened grapes. This served in a teacup, on top of Cambridge burnt cream and topped with freeze dried blueberry powder. The third Afternoon Tea treat resembled a doughnut, rolled in strawberry sugar and filled with clotted cream mousse as a reworking of scones, jam and cream.

Great British Menu 2016 - central heat - Andrew scott - afternoon tea dessert

Angela said that it was clear that Andrew had thought hard about the brief and she liked the doughnuts – they were lighter than anticipated! She said the cream was a bit loose and thought that perhaps the dessert was a bit big to end the banquet on.

The final scores were another high nine for Danny and eights for both Daniel and Andrew. This meant that Andrew was eliminated from the heat. Daniel pulled off his risky dessert and was through to the judging.

Two newcomers to the competition, Daniel Smith and Danny Gill were about to battle it out to represent a region that has previously produced five Banquet winners. Danny had topped the leaderboard all week and was even awarded two nines.

Guest judging this heat was Bangladeshi-born British businessman, Enam Ali MBE. He is the founder of Le Raj restaurant, The British Curry Awards and Spice Business Magazine. He was looking for ‘divine’ food that looks, smells and tastes good.

Danny Gill - Great British Menu 2016 - Judging - Coronation chicken and scallop starter

For Danny’s starter ‘Celebration of the Coronation’, Judge Angela Hartnett asked for more flavour in the dish. Because of this, Danny served more of his coronation dressing and stuffed his ravioli with more of the chicken and scallop filling. Oliver Peyton was not impressed – he called the presentation ‘exhausting’ and said that his scallop was overcooked. Enam said that his was perfect and called it a ‘lighter version’ of that traditional curry flavour.

Daniel’s starter celebrated Norfolk produce, including partridge as a tribute to the game and conservation industry. He served a larger portion of his apple and ginger puree and more pork crumb for more texture, as per Angela Hartnett’s advice. Matthew Fort said that the story behind the dish was particularly valuable but criticised it for ‘relying on classic techniques’.

In Danny’s fish course ‘Modern Tradition’, Angela had pointed out that the brioche had gone soggy. Danny chose to serve it on the plate on the top this time. Prue Leith particularly liked Danny’s aerated cream cheese but Matthew said the different components of the dish were ‘all a bit too soft’.

Danny Gill - Great British Menu 2016 - Judging -  fish course

For Daniel’s fish course , he opted to serve his cheese ‘custard’  separately this time and put more of his lobster emulsion on the plate. Prue said that flavour of the emulsion dominated the dish but Matthew disagreed, saying that the lobster was beautifully cooked and packed flavour. Oliver called the presentation with the fishing nets (for the Caister fishermen) ‘lazy’.

Daniel Smith - Great British Menu 2016 - Central heat - Judging - fish course

Daniel was adding a new element to his main course, one that he’d forgotten to put in originally but had always intended to use – crispy coppa ham. The dish was covered by a cloche with the flag of Great Britain on it. Oliver and Matthew joked about this and Matthew said the cloche was more exciting than the dish underneath – owch! The judges were not impressed by Daniel’s main – they felt the beef shin was dry and the cauliflower was not cooked properly.

Danny Gill - Great British Menu 2016 - Judging -  main course - venison wellingtonAngela criticised Danny’s main for not being more obvious about his link to the brief. Because of this, Danny attached a memo and a picture of his Dad, who was a chef in the RAF and whom he had dedicated the dish too. Oliver loved the story and Danny’s modern take on venison wellington. Prue said that the celeriac puree was “one of the best she’d ever tasted”.  

Danny Gill - Great British Menu 2016 - Judging - jam penny dessert

To Danny’s dessert ‘Jam Penny’, he was adding a new white chocolate a raspberry mousse inside his ‘moneybags’. The judges seemed a bit put off by the presentation of his dish - Matthew said that it “looks like ectoplasm from Dr Who”! Oliver defended the dish, saying it tasted quite nice.

Daniel's  dessert  - a reinvention of the classic peach melba - was served with his take on a bellini. Prue particularly liked this bit! All of the judges loved Daniel’s panna cotta and said it was a definite improvement on his main. Oliver Peyton remained unsure if it fit the brief though.

 Daniel Smith - Great British Menu 2016 - Judging - raspberry melba dessert

When the time came to make the decision, the judges discussed how Danny had many innovate ideas but he may have over complicated his courses a bit. They commented on how Daniel seemed much more focused but they were still disappointed with his ‘Sunday Lunch’ main.

In the end, there was only one point difference between the two chefs’ scores! Danny Gill came out victorious, with particularly high scores for his main ‘Fallow the Dream’.

Danny Gill - Great British Menu 2016 - Central heat - Judging - main course scores

Daniel Smith - Great British Menu 2016 - Central heat - Judging - fish course scores

 >>> Read our interviews with all three of the Central GBM chefs here...

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2016 here






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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th September 2016

Great British Menu 2016 Blog by Jenna Lloyd - The Central Heat